Microsoft short-timer Steve Ballmer’s exit interview

“Steve Ballmer paced his corner office on a foggy January morning here, listening through loudspeakers to his directors’ voices on a call that would set in motion the end of his 13-year reign as Microsoft Corp.’s chief executive,” Monica Langley reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Microsoft lagged behind Apple Inc. and Google Inc. in important consumer markets, despite its formidable software revenue. Mr. Ballmer tried to spell out his plan to remake Microsoft, but a director cut him off, telling him he was moving too slowly. ‘Hey, dude, let’s get on with it,’ lead director John Thompson says he told him. ‘We’re in suspended animation.'”

“Mr. Ballmer says he replied that he could move faster,” Langley reports. “But the contentious call put him on a difficult journey toward his August decision to retire, sending Microsoft into further tumult as it began seeking a successor to a man who has been at its heart for 33 years. ‘Maybe I’m an emblem of an old era, and I have to move on,’ the 57-year-old Mr. Ballmer says, pausing as his eyes well up. ‘As much as I love everything about what I’m doing,’ he says, ‘the best way for Microsoft to enter a new era is a new leader who will accelerate change.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh-so-appropriately, this is like a toddler’s book:

“The maudlin monkey loves ramming his boat into icebergs. He loves it so much that he gives his captain’s hat to a faster monkey.”

“The board’s beef was speed. The directors ‘didn’t push Steve to step down,’ says Mr. Thompson, a longtime technology executive who heads the board’s CEO-search committee, ‘but we were pushing him damn hard to go faster,’ Langley reports.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
“Mr. Ballmer joined in 1980 at the suggestion of his Harvard University pal, co-founder Bill Gates, and is its second-largest individual shareholder and a billionaire… while profit rolled in from Microsoft’s traditional markets, it missed epic changes, including Web-search advertising and the consumer shift to mobile devices and social media… ‘At the end of the day, we need to break a pattern,’ he says. ‘Face it: I’m a pattern.'”

“On a plane from Europe in late May, he told Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith that it ‘might be the time for me to go.’ The next day, Mr. Ballmer called Mr. Thompson, with the same message,” Langley reports. “Mr. Thompson called two other directors, Mr. Luczo and Charles Noski, former Bank of America Corp. vice chairman, and says he told them: ‘If Steve’s ready to go, let’s see if we can get on with this.'”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Take your time, guys. No rush.

Related articles:
Microsoft short-timer Ballmer loses over half his bonus over failure to compete with Apple – October 4, 2013
Squirmfest: Video of Ballmer’s tearful farewell to Microsoft – September 30, 2013
Steve Ballmer’s exit not planned or as smooth as portrayed by Microsoft – August 26, 2013
Microsoft stock surges on Ballmer retirement news – August 23, 2013
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months as BoD initiates succession process – August 23, 2013


    1. I, like many, saw this about Ballmer from almost the moment he became CEO as a bumbling boobie who would ultimately bring Microsoft down. My friends who WORKED at Microsoft were in deep denial. The stock they had they watched it falling and figured it would go right back up. It never did. Despite the money the company made off it’s two cash cows it remained moribund and late to every tech trend. But it started with Bill Gates who missed a few “little” things like the Internet freight train hurtling down the tracks obvious to everyone else, let alone a “tech leader.” Both need to be an object lesson in poor leadership and complete lack of business vision as well as clueless about style. Merely copying what the market does will eventually run out of steam as will happen to Shamstung.

  1. Yeah, full article but you can’t get to it unless you pay a subscription. Damn it! Not paying to read about Ballmer, as much as I’d love a good laugh over his latest dumb quotes.
    If anyone finds this elsewhere, please post the URL.

  2. Take your time Stevie Boy, we like your strategy, we like it a lot. What am I to do with all my monkey and Uncle Fester jokes if you leave? You’re just too much fun to mock and ridicule. These blogs will be much duller without the humor derived from poking fun at your simian behavior, lack of social skills, and all around ineptitude. Don’t go my apish friend, we need you.

    1. One word, Elop.

      The article says he was returning from Europe. Wonder if he was just sealin’ the deal with the crown prince from Nokia (pronounced: Noke-yah apparently).
      Can’t wait to see if the federal govt of Finlandia figures out this Flim-flam.

    2. The Board of Directors is equally clueless. First, they let Ballmer remain CEO for SO long despite the obvious stagnation at Microsoft. Now, they complain to Ballmer about Microsoft being in “suspended animation,” yet move like a glacier in finding Ballmer’s replacement.

  3. Is that picture from “Dr.Strangelove”? If it is, then shame on you, MDN! The works of Stanley Kubrick should never be tainted with Bald Ballmer’s face! (Unless it is that scene from “A Clockwork Orange” where Alex and his droogs beat up that guy while singing “Singin’ In the Rain”. Replace him with Ballmer, and you’re good to go! “Singin’ in the rain, oh I’m just sing in’ in the rain *kick* I’m singin’ *slap* in the rain!!!)

          1. Steve Jobs was known to be an asshole at times but at least he was an asshole for the cause of clearing the way for genius ideas out to the world at warp speed. Ballmer is an asshole that furthers ignorance, stupidity, and backward thinking. Ballmer is a constipated asshole.

    1. Yes James, it’s from ‘Dr. Strangelove’. We were joking about Ballmer riding the nuke right into the ground a few months back and posting links to the video of Slim Pickins yelling ‘Yahoooo! HeeHaw’ followed by a massive mushroom cloud of destruction. It’s what we hoped and dreamed for Microsoft. That scene is a portrait of just how lunatic war can be. Pasting Ballmer’s head on Slim seems only fitting as he rides his rocket, liking it a lot, into total cataclysm. 😉

  4. Don’t let that glass door hit ya’
    Where your chrome-dome does fit ya’
    And all hope that Windows gets calmer
    With no more sweat-soaked Ballmer
    Or the Apple world will NEVER get ya’….

    (yes, I got my “Ya Ya’s Out” to celebrate Ballmer’s ‘out the door’!)

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